Pucks to Pick

We have ourselves a short slate tonight (four games), but two of the worst teams in the NHL at stopping the biscuit from going in their basket in February are among them. I like to look at the low hanging fruit before I dive deep into my likes and dislikes for the evening so lets look at the goalies to target against on offense.

The Toronto Maple Leafs (@Montreal Canadiens) and the Calgary Flames (vs. Ottawa Senators) have allowed 3.5 goals per game or more in their previous 10 and that’s where we start today.

The Canadiens aren’t high-powered enough to demand a full stack, but a great match up always deserves mini-stack consideration.

Tomas Plekanec Center: $10,300

Stats: 3 Goals – 7 assists – 26 Shots on Goal = 11 Games Played

Plekanec is just shy of a point per game and 2.5 shots in his prior 11 games. He is a solid salary up against a Maple Leafs defense that is familiar with puck going in their net.

Alex Galchenyuk Center: $9,300

Stats: 5 Goals – 3 Assists – 37 SOG = 11 GP

Galchenyuk has been hit or miss in February, scoring four of his five goals in two of his 11 games, but at that salary with this match up he is worth a look, especially in an affordable mini-stack with Tomas Plekanec.

The Calgary Flames have allowed 3.5 goals per game in their previous 10 while their opponent, the Ottawa Senators, has scored an average of three goals per game. The math looks good and I won’t bother to attempt to predict who scores the 1/2 goal, but we’ll take it when it happens.

Erik Karlsson Defense: $16,400

Stats: 13 assists – 46 SOG = 12 GP

Karlsson is an assist’s machine that also throws a lot of shots on net. I have been wavering back and forth about whether its great strategy to pay the big price for defenseman or not, but Karlsson is a lock for 8-10 points on a bad night and double that on a good one. He is safe and secure, though also costly. In a night with only four games you probably have the budget to take the safe route and roster Karlsson and the match up is ideal.

Mark Stone Wing: $11,400

Stats: 9 goals – 4 assists – 32 SOG = 12 GP

He has goals in back-to-back games and three of his last four and he faces an empty net in the Flames. The price isn’t a bargain, but he is playing well enough to justify a start with any reasonable salary considering other factors. Stone is a solid start in a prime match up.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau Center: $7,900

Stats: 2 Goals – 10 Assists – 19 SOG = 12 GP

Not exactly the goal totals you want to see but he has five assists in his previous four games. He is putting up some points at his $7,900 salary and the price is too good to pass up in a prime match up. If you can afford to go chalk he isn’t a “must-start,” but if the budget gets tight Pageau is a solid place for savings.

 

Mini-Stack of the Night

Mark Stone $11,400 and Jean-Gabriel Pageau $7,900

I have been enamored with stacking recently after seeing a monster stack in a tournament this past week. The winner of one of our big tournaments stacked five players from the same team. Not the same game but the same team and he walked away with the top cash money that night. He started Flip Forsberg who netted three goals and the bonus, which is why he won, but the super-stack was effective none-the-less.

 

Bargains

Zach Bogosian Defense $6,900

Stats: 3 Goals – 2 Assists – 5 shots = 3 GP and 17 blocked shots in 12 February games.

Andrei Markov Defense $9,100

Stats: 0 Goals – 4 Assists – 6 SOG = 3 GP and 18 blocked shots in 11 games

Jiri Hudler Wing $9,200

Stats: 1 Goal – 2 Assists – 4 SOG = 3 GP

Dion Phaneuf Defense $9,400

Stats: 1 Goal – 2 Assists – 6 SOG = 3 GP

Here are some players that have played well recently and with only four games on the slate are close to must starts based purely on performance.

Jeff Carter Center $12,100

Stats: 1 Goal – 1 Assist – 13 SOG = 3 GP

Gabriel Landeskog Wing $12,500

Stats: 1 Goal – 2 Assists – 10 shots = 3 GP

Tyson Barrie Defense $11,600

Stats: 2 Goals – 2 Assists – 12 SOG = 3 GP

Because there are so few games and not a lot of high-octane offenses skating tonight I thought that going deep inside the numbers for some hidden value was called for and with the scoring changes to the site recently, that means Shots on Goal. It can buoy your offense by bringing some consistency, especially in double up and H2H formats, but it can also provide a foundation to go along with a few goals from other sources in tournament formats.

 

Shots on Goal Guys

Nathan MacKinnon Center $13,600

Stats: 1 Assist – 18 SOG = 3 GP

Erik Karlsson Defense $16,400

Stats: 13 SOG = 3 GP

Tyler Toffoli Wing $12,600

Stats: 2 Assists – 12 SOG = 3 GP

 

Team G

Detroit Red Wings $15,800 @Colorado Avalanche

The Av’s have been the lowest scoring team in hockey the previous 11 games and the Red Wings have allowed just over two goals a game, making the Wings a good mix of salary, performance and match up. Wins have become important under the new scoring system and this one could go either way, reducing the value slightly.

Los Angeles Kings $17,100 vs. Buffalo Sabres

If you’re chasing Wins then this is your Team G of the night with the lowly Sabres on the West Coast facing the Kings. It looks like the inexperienced Jhonas Enroth (not confirmed yet) will get the start, which gives me reason for pause. The Kings have allowed 20 goals in the last nine games and that is appealing. The Sabres average just over 30 shots per game and just under three goals in February. With Enroth between the pipes this could be a game to target some Sabres, which makes this a coin toss call. I lean no, but there are solid reasons to vote yes.

Toronto Maple Leafs $13,900 vs. Montreal Canadiens

The Canadiens have averaged just over 30 shots and just under three goals per game in their last 11. If you are looking for a bargain and don’t mind taking the risk then the Maple Leafs are your Team G. With Jonathan Quick likely sitting tonight for the Kings there isn’t a star goalie on the slate, which means some risk is par for the course regardless of who you choose and the Leafs are the cheapest Team G. Obviously, if you choose to take whirl with the Maple Leafs then you want to avoid stacking against them on the offensive side. That makes the Leaf’s Team G the center of your decision-making tonight – to target or to start – that is the question.

 

Good Luck tonight Ladies and Gents.

Chris Mitchell

Chris Mitchell

Chris Mitchell has been playing Fantasy sports for over twenty years. He contributed to RotoWire.com in their early days before contributing as a writer and doing Fantasy sports Podcasts for Seamheads.com. Three seasons ago he brought his writing and his Fantasy sports Podcast to RotoExperts.com and the Fantasy Sports Television network and this past season he wrote a weekly Fantasy sports column for BaseballAmerica.com. He also writes about Minor League prospects for RotoExperts. Chris has no more access to the site than the typical user. Follow him at Twitter @CJMiitch73.

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